Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Spicy Eggplant Goat Cheese Pizza
I need to be better about posting dinner recipes. After all, those are the kind I seek out most frequently. It’s just usually at dinner time I’m in a huge rush, or I think I’ve lost the light, Nathan’s starving, wah wah wah. As soon as I mentally concocted this flavor combo, I knew I’d want to put it on the blog. I’ve been inspired to get a little more creative with our pizza toppings after two recent visits to Porta Via here in Nashville. If I’m going to eat pizza, I want the real freaking deal. Porta Via has really great pizza, and really great gelato!
On to this dish… Rather than make my own pizza dough, I kept this super easy, by using dough I purchased at Trader Joe’s. I roasted some eggplant, and chopped up a large jalapeno, both veggies from my CSA box. Then I tossed on some sliced & slightly roasted jalapeno chicken sausages (also from Trader Joe’s), and soft & creamy goat cheese. I loved the combination of the spicy jalapeno & chicken sausage when paired with the goat cheese & mild eggplant. To give it extra kick, sprinkle on some red pepper flakes!
Spicy Eggplant Goat Cheese Pizza
Feel free to use this as more of a flavor guide. Top your pizza with the amount of each ingredient you'd like. I ended up not needing all of the toppings I had prepared.
1 ball of pizza dough
flour for dusting & rolling out the dough
1 small eggplant
2 chicken sausage links (I used the jalapeno variety)
1/4 cup marinara sauce
1/4-1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
1 oz goat cheese
olive oil (optional)
italian seasoning (optional)
cracked pepper (optional)
red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Slice eggplant thinly (about 1/4"), then quarter the slices. Arrange on a baking sheet, toss with olive oil, and sprinkle with cracked pepper. Roast about 15 minutes, turning halfway though. While eggplant is roasting, slice jalapeno in half, remove seeds, and slice thinly. Set aside. Slice chicken sausages, and roast about 5-7 minutes, remove right as they begin to turn golden.
When eggplant & chicken sausage are done roasting, put your pizza stone in the oven (if you're using one), and turn the heat up as high as you can get it. Let the stone warm up. I take this time to assemble my ingredients into an assembly line so I can prepare the pizza as quick as possible.
Meanwhile, dust your work surface with flour and roll out your dough. When stone is ready, remove from the oven, sprinkle with cornmeal (optional), and transfer dough to the stone. If you'd like, brush the edge of the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with italian seasoning.. This is just optional, but I think it helps create a delicious golden crust. Next spread on the marinara sauce, followed by the mozzarella cheese, eggplant, chicken sausage, & jalapeno. Dollop on the goat cheese, and finish with a sprinkle of cracked pepper & red pepper flakes. Transfer pizza stone back to the oven, and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden, and finished.
One of the other things that inspired this pizza, was a special delivery I’d just gotten. The wonderful people I met at BlogHerFood ’11 from Barilla Pasta introduced me to their new pasta sauce. They were nice enough to send a few jars to me to sample. While they created this line of sauce intended to “hug pasta” (their words!), I decided to crack open a jar and spread it on my pizza! I can’t wait to explore more recipes to share with you in the future! On that note, I’ll go ahead and let you know, I’m not being paid by them, only provided with some of their new sauces to sample.